When you enter the workforce, many employers will want to see that you’ve done more than participate in classes. They want to know that you’re able to apply what you’ve learned in real-life scenarios.
Internships can give you an opportunity for business administration students to work alongside professionals to see how course concepts are applied in organizations.
Obtaining an internship requires time and effort. And participating in an internship may be as challenging as taking another course. But don’t be dissuaded! There are many rewards for your hard work:
- You’ll reinforce what you’ve learned in your classes.
- Your resume will stand out from other applicants.
- You can network with professionals in the field.
- The organization can be a source of referrals when you’re looking for work.
- You may earn some money. (Some internships are paid.)
- You can potentially earn college credit for your internship.
- In some cases, an internship may lead to a full-time job.
U.S. News & World Report describes another advantage of internships: They can help you decide if your chosen field is one you want to pursue. “It’s best to know as early as possible, and an internship can help you do that,” author Heather R. Huhman writes.
What to Expect from an Internship
The best internships will expose you to both the day-to-day operations and long-term strategy of an organization. You should not expect to make business decisions or sit in on board meetings. But you should definitely be doing more than getting coffee and making copies — the work should be challenging, not menial.
Here are some of the areas you might pursue for your internship:
During your internship, you may be asked to help out with reporting, social media, meetings, public events, bookkeeping or some financial analysis. You may also be able to sit in on meetings and training sessions. If there’s a task or event that interests you, just ask. Larger organizations might have a dedicated intern manager and formalized programs. Smaller companies may provide a less structured, but equally fulfilling, internship experience.
Begin your internship journey by talking with a trusted professor or academic advisor. If you know a professional in the field, consult him or her as well. These discussions will help you determine what kind of internship you want and need to reach your goals.
Talking over your options is important because business administration is such a broad field. Do you want to intern for a large employer or small one? Do you want to focus on a company in a particular industry, or one that provides consulting services to firms in many different industries? Do you want to concentrate on one particular business field, such as accounting, or seek opportunities that will acquaint you with a number of different disciplines?
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, it’s time to prepare a resume. If your resume is light on experience, mention your coursework and the kinds of projects you’ve completed in class. USA Today College has some tips for creating an internship-focused resume. The Balance, a personal finance and professional development website, provides a sample resume for business internships — be sure to notice the sections for relevant coursework and relevant school-related experience.
Use New England College Career Resources
When searching for an internship, you’re not alone. New England College’s Office of Career and Life Planning provides a wealth of resources for students seeking internships. There is a listing of internships available for various education paths, including business, accounting and finance. More importantly, there are guidelines and forms for students that would like to obtain college credit for their internships.
Some internship opportunities listed for NEC students are located near the campus in Henniker, New Hampshire. If you’re earning a degree online you may want to consult NEC’s College Central Network, which has an Intern Central portal, or sites like Internships.com, Indeed or Monster to search for internships near you. Family and friends can also be a great source of internship leads as well.
Make the Most of Your Internship
The more you put into your internship, the more you’ll get out of it. Look for opportunities to build upon what you’ve learned in class, and remember that you’re representing not only yourself, but all NEC students. If you make a good impression, you might be able to call upon the internship sponsor for references and referrals when you’ve received your degree and you’re seeking permanent employment.